BBC Radio 3’s highly-anticipated version of The Snowman has been axed amid backlash from the original version’s composer.
Howard Blake, who composed all the music for the 1982 animated film, was vocal about his upset for the plans for the radio show, which was set to premiere on BBC Radio 3 on Christmas Eve and air on Radio 4 on Christmas Day.
Narrated by Stephen Fry, the music and background noises in the radio programme, from piano and strings to the music box and the motorcycle taking off, were to be sung by a choir rather than using any instruments.
Blake, 82, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he cared ‘a great deal about The Snowman’ but the new version ‘scares’ him, and it would be impossible for a choir to create, for example, the sound of the motorcycle.
According to the composer, the musical arrangement of the radio version ‘mocks it and makes it sound silly, it will take a great deal of pleasure away from the world and I don’t approve of this arrangement’.
He had told The Daily Telegraph that the ‘vocalisation’ of his original composition amounted to ‘a desecration, it is absolutely vile’.
Producer Jonathan Manners approached Blake with the idea of using a choir to replicate all the instruments and the composer said he initially refused to give his permission.
However, Blake alleged producer Manners had ‘already told Prince Charles and the Queen about it’, and he said he believed he had no choice but to give permission for his work to be re-imagined.
Now the BBC has confirmed it is cancelling the planned programme after Blake’s complaints.
A spokesperson told Metro.co.uk they were ‘saddened and surprised to hear of Mr Blake’s concerns as we sought permission from him and his publishers and he has been consulted and has contributed throughout.’
They added: ‘A distinguished team has been skilfully developing plans to bring this production to millions of listeners this Christmas, so it’s a great shame we have to remove this from our festive schedule, in line with Mr Blake’s wishes.’
The re-imagined works were due to be played on BBC Radio 3 on Christmas Eve at 7.30pm, and again on Radio 4 at 1.30pm on Christmas Day, but it is unclear what will now take its place on the schedule.
Since the animated version of Raymond Briggs’ beloved picture book first aired on Boxing Day in 1982, The Snowman has cemented itself as one of the UK’s most beloved Christmas traditions.
It tells the story of a young boy who builds a snowman who comes to life, and the adventures the pair have one Christmas night, told through animation and music, including Blake’s iconic song Walking In The Air.
Credit: Original article published here.